Islamabad: Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan on Wednesday said that high cost of electricity was not the only factor behind declining exports.

The exports of Pakistan crossed US$ 25 billion mark for the first time in our history and recorded a growth of 3.5 percent in 2014, however,  exports are witnessing a declining trend. In 2014 exports were $25.11 billion, which in 2015 declined to $ 23.885, Dastagir told National Assembly.

Minister said high cost of doing business including expensive electricity was one of the factor behind the reduction in exports.

The per unit cost of electricity was Rs-4-5 higher than other countries of the region or competitors. Even after the recent subsidy of Rs3 per unit to industrial sector, country was still Rs1-2 less competitive, he told the Assembly.

He said rice, leather and cotton are the major Pakistani exports. The prices of these all three items were declining in international market and hence the demand was dramatically reduced. He said depreciation of currency was another major reason behind reduction in exports.

He said Pakistan’s exports to China and UAE have declined by 13.71 percent and 24.5 percent in the 2015, respectively.

China has abandoned its policy to store raw cotton and yarn that comprises major portion of Pakistan’s export basket, whereas exports to UAE have declined due to decrease in the exports of petroleum products, chemicals, jewellary and rice, Dastagir explained.

He mentioned depreciation of USD and Euro against Pak. Rupee during the current financial year, as compared to the corresponding period of previous year, has made Pakistan’s exports less competitive.

He said trade deficit between imports and exports was $22.16 billion in 2014-15 as compared to $19.96 billion in 2013-14.

Answering another question Minister said that as a result of GSP Plus, Pakistani’s exports to EU have increased from US$ 6.21 billion during 2013 to US$ 7.54 billion in 2014.

He said Pakistan’s exports to EU have grown more rapidly in 2014 than many of its regional competitors including Bangladesh, India and Vietnam, however as a result of existing financial crisis in EU, value of Euro is depreciating against US$. This depreciation has adversely affected export earnings of all the countries not only Pakistan.